Two straight men will do their best to pass themselves off as gay as they compete for $50,000 in an upcoming Fox television special, Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay, the network said on Thursday. The two-hour show, set to air June 7, marks the latest in the burgeoning TV subgenre of gay-themed reality shows, such as Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and the previous Fox offering Playing It Straight. Queer Eye, in which five gay men teach a heterosexual slob how to dress, dine, and design, caught on quickly with gay and straight audiences alike, first on the Bravo cable channel and then on its sister broadcast network, NBC.
But Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay has raised the eyebrows of at least one gay activist group, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which questioned the show's premise as potentially offensive and the "inflammatory" tone of the original press release announcing it. "Without having seen the show yet, it raises some red flags for us, speaking to negative stereotypes that we work every day to tear down," GLAAD spokesman Stephen Macias told Reuters. He cited a passage in the press release stating that two straight contestants will immerse themselves in "the gay lifestyle" as they move into separate West Hollywood apartments with gay roommates, come out of the closet to their best friends, and socialize at gay nightclubs. Each will even go out on a blind date with another man. Fox also said the two contestants will be judged by a "jury of their queers"--a panel of gay men from all walks of life who will decide which of the two they believe is "most gay" and the winner of $50,000. "There was a second press release that was sent out with a disclaimer at the top of it apologizing for their ill-attempted humor in the first press release," Macias said.
A Fox spokesman acknowledged that "the failed humor was ill-chosen and inappropriate and we issued a new release," but added that the program would actually help "dispel stereotypes." He added that Fox would provide GLAAD with an advance copy of the show's script for review. The show, from the creators of the Fox reality series My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé, will be hosted by Amanda Byram, who also emcees the Fox makeover show The Swan and the romance reality series Paradise Hotel.